Full Novel Revision Week: YA, MG & More SOLD OUT

A Full Novel Revision Week: YA, MG and More

with faculty Kathi Appelt, Shana Burg, Bethany Hegedus, and Rita Williams-Garcia

NEW DATES: August 9-16, 2014

This Workshop is now SOLD OUT!

Do you write middle grade-fiction? YA? Chapter books?  Is your main character a rambunctious raccoon? A trio of sisters?  Two-best friends at odds with one another? Are you writing in first person? Third person? Or omniscient? Historical? Contemporary?

The esteemed faculty (two Newbery honor authors! two National Book award finalists! Bluebonnet list! Bank Streets Best Book of the year lists!) at The Writing Barn’s Full Novel Revision Week: Mastering the Middle Grade have mastered all of the above.

Spend August 9-August 16,  at The Writing Barn in Austin, Texas, for a  week of craft, conversation, and deep-introspective revision. (To apply, fill out the application form here.)

What to Expect during the Full Novel Revision Week?

During the week, you will meet one-on-one with your faculty advisor, who will have read and provided written feedback on a FULL novel draft. These one-on-ones will allow the writer to ask questions, clarify editorial feedback, and connect with the award-winning writer they are working with.

You will attend faculty lectures, presentations given on a variety of craft topics, including:

true blue“Putting the Rabbit in the Hat: Animals and Magic in Middle Grade Books” by  Kathi Appelt, Newbery honor author of The Underneath, and National Book Award Finalist for The Underneath and The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp

 Middle grade books have the capacity to “mind the gap.” That is, they swim about in the ocean between the shores of a child’s imaginative realm to the countries of the real world.  These books are rife with possibilities and one of their real charms is the author’s flexibility to inhabit that gap.  Animal characters, wizards, genies in a bottle, are fair game, along with antagonistic siblings, missing relatives, oppressive teachers, etc.  There really aren’t any limitations. Or are there?

In this discussion we’ll look at that gap and consider those shifting borders, and maybe we’ll find a few rabbits.

Laugh with the Moon

“Lights, Camera, Action: Settings That Spring to Life!” by Shana Burg, author of A Thousand Never Evers (Top 10 Middle Readers by Amazon in 2008 and was the National Parenting Publications Award Gold Winner) and Laugh with the Moon (Texas Bluebonnet list)

Settings aren’t often given the same consideration as characters. But how do you create settings that are as lively, obstinate, or jealous as the characters who populate your stories? What techniques can you use to reinforce the sense of time and place at every turn? And how can you ensure that readers will be thinking of your story world after they’ve put your book down?

We’ll explore how to build settings that are not mere backdrop, but ones that add sizzle to our stories.


“If You Build It, They Will Read: A Nuts & Bolts Approach to Scene and Structure” by Bethany Hegedus,  Bank Street Best Books author of Between Us Baxters and Truth with a Capital T and the forthcoming, Grandfather Gandhi, co-written with Arun Gandhi

No hammer needed, or nails—just bring a notebook and get ready to examine Aristotle’s Incline and the 7 Key Scenes every book needs.

Please be familiar with Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell  and Truth with a Capital T, as Bethany discusses the 7 Key Scenes used to build these books.

one crazy summer

“Big Game Treasure Hunting: Populating Your Novel with the Perfect Objects” by Rita Williams Garcia, Coretta Scott King winner, Scott O’Dell Prize for Historical Fiction, National Book Award finalist and Newbery Honor author of One Crazy Summer and 2013’s PS: Be Eleven

 Lecture description to come.

When will I revise?

You will have ample time during the week with several designated blocks of revision time. You may write in your shared room at The Book House or journey out onto the grounds with a lap desk to write under the live oaks or any of the writing nooks all over the property.

Each evening, after returning from dinner, you may head back to the page or pour a glass of wine and sit and sip, talking craft and creativity with the other writers in attendance.

Sarr Zarr lecturing at The Writing Barn, 2013

Sara Zarr lecturing at The Writing Barn, 2013

Who Should Apply to Mastering the Middle Grade: Full Novel Revision? 

  • Those with a complete draft or almost a complete draft of their middle grade novels. Novels may be fantasy, contemporary, sci-fi, historical, etc., but should focus on the middle grade age group.
  • Those ready and willing to receive thoughtful and critical feedback on their WIP.
  • Those wishing to deepen their understanding of craft techniques and tools.
  • Those looking for inspiration and a week to begin extensive revisions.
Attending a lecture

Attending a lecture

During this WEEK LONG INTENSIVE you will have the opportunity to: 

  • Attend faculty lectures, complete with  Q&A and discussions
  • Participate in extensive writing exercises led by an award-winning faculty
  • Write and revise in your shared room at The Book House, on-the wooded 7.5-acre grounds, or on the party porch
  • Benefit from small group sessions and group discussions
  • Develop a revision plan
  • Enjoy an evening reading or two, as workshop participants and faculty read from their work
  • Meet and mingle with workshop participants from throughout the country
  • Enjoy delicious vegetarian breakfast and lunches
  • Walk the hike and bike trail at Austin’s Town Lake
  • Take a refreshing dip in Austin’s Barton Springs
  • Tour Austin indie BookPeople and meet with staff to hear about how best to work with booksellers
  • Bond with faculty over board games, meals, around the fire pit and on the party porch in the evenings
  • Meet Austin authors who may drop by The Writing Barn to say a special hello to YOU!

grounds 3Why Study at The Writing Barn?

 Austin, Austin, Austin        Everyone wants to come to Austin, Texas. You know you do, too! During your week-long event, you will have the opportunity to dine at Austin eateries, hit a food truck, walk the hike and bike trail, hear some live music, and visit local indie BookPeople. All to be enjoyed before or after hitting the page.

Incredible and Inspiring Programming          From the Advanced Writer Weekend Workshop Series to Full Novel Weeks and other special events, Writing Barn Owner and fellow author Bethany Hegedus is committed to bringing the best quality programming for the most affordable prices to those pursuing their path to publication—whether it be before their first book is published or before their next book is published.

Books & Buddhas            The Writing Barn has a unique rustic yet modern design that is comfy, cozy and adds to your creativity! Author Christina Mandelski put it best: “The beautiful setting, the cozy accommodations and Bethany’s easy hospitality, all combine to create an atmosphere where creative inspiration runs rampant. I love every visit to The Writing Barn, and always leave feeling refreshed.”

The Deer      The wooded 7.5 acres that makes up The Writing Barn grounds is home to a friendly family of deer. As many as nine deer might greet you as you sip your morning coffee on the porch. And then there are the three bs: birds, butterflies & bluebonnets. Though The Writing Barn is 20 minutes from downtown, you’ll feel like you are staying at a hill country escape.

Faculty Bios: 

Kathi Appelt headshotKathi Appelt is the New York Times best-selling author of more than thirty books for children and young adults. Her first novel, THE UNDERNEATH, was named a National Book Award Finalist, a Newbery Honor Book, and the PEN USA Literature for Children Award.  That was followed by KEEPER, which was named an NCTE Notable Children’s Book and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. Her memoir, MY FATHER’S SUMMERS (Henry Holt, 2004), won the Paterson Prize for Young Adult Poetry.  Ms. Appelt was presented with the A.C. Greene Award by the Friends of Abilene Public Library, which named her a “Texas Distinguished Author.”

Her newest novel, THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP, was named as a finalist for the National Book Awards.  It has received starred reviews in Kirkus, School Library Journal, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and Shelf Awareness. In 2014, she has two new picture books due out, Mogie: The Heart of the House, illustrated by Marc Rosenthal (Atheneum), and When Otis Courted Mama, illustrated by Jill Murphy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

In addition to writing, Ms. Appelt is on the faculty in the Masters of Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts.  She and her husband Ken live in College Station, Texas, with six adorable cats, Django, Peach, Hoss, Mingus, Chica and Jazz.  They are the parents of two even more adorable sons, Jacob and Cooper, musicians who both play the double bass.

Shana_burg_Laugh_Author _Photo 644Shana Burg is the award-winning author of two novels for young readers.  A Thousand Never Evers (Random House, 2008) was named one of the Top 10 Middle Readers by Amazon in 2008 and was the National Parenting Publications Award Gold Winner. In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly said A Thousand Never Evers is “Gripping…delivers an emotional wallop.”

Laugh with the Moon (Random House, 2012) is currently on the Texas Bluebonnet list for grades 3-6 and was named a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People by the National Council for Social Studies. This novel received a starred review from School Library Journal.

Shana is an educator and loves teaching at The Writing Barn! You can read more about her work at www.shanaburg.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/shanaburgwrites or on Twitter @ShanaBurgWrites.

Bethany HeadshotBethany Hegedus’s books include Truth with a Capital T (Delacorte/Random House) and Between Us Baxters (WestSide Books). Both novels were named to the Bank Street Books Best Books, with Between Us Baxters garnering a star for outstanding recognition.

Released this spring  from Atheneum/Simon & Schuster is the picture book Grandfather Gandhi, co-authored with Arun Gandhi, grandson of the Mahatma, which has earned starred reviews from Kirkus & PW.

Bethany has served as the Hunger Mountain Young Adult & Children’s Editor since 2009. A graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children & Young Adults, Bethany is the Owner and Creative Director of The Writing Barn, a writing retreat, workshop and event space in Austin, Texas.


Author of several award-winning novels, Rita Williams-Garcia continues to break new ground in young people’s literature.

Known for their realistic portrayal of teens of color, Williams-Garcia’s works have been recognized by the Coretta Scott King Award Committee, PEN Norma Klein, American Library Association, and Parents’ Choice, among others.

She recently served on the National Book Award Committee for Young People’s Literature and is on faculty at Vermont College MFA Writing for Children and Young People.

She lives in Manhattan.

Teaching Assistant:


Anne Bustard headshot

Anne Bustard holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in addition to three degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.

She is the author of the award-winning Buddy: The Story of Buddy Holly (Paula Wiseman Books, Simon & Schuster) and two other works of nonfiction for young children.

A former children’s-only bookstore owner and a lecturer in education, Anne loves being a part of the vibrant Austin writing community. Her debut middle-grade novel, Anywhere But Paradise (Egmont USA) will be published in Spring 2015. 

 Full Novel Revision Week Registration with ONSITE LODGING: $1800, 10 of these registrations available, includes:

  • Lodging provided with August 10th arrival and August 16th departure on The Writing Barn grounds.
  • One dinner, six breakfasts, and five lunches. All vegetarian. (6 additional dinners not included in the price of the workshop will be off-site at local Austin area eateries/food trucks.)
  • Unlimited snacks and beverages, wine and beer included.
  • Airport shuttle to and from The Writing Barn for those traveling to Austin, at pre-arranged times.

large (5)

Mastering the Middle Grade Full Novel Registration for LOCALS *no lodging but includes all meals except the off-site dinners:  $1500,  4-6 of these registrations available, this is for:

  •  Locals not staying on The Writing Barn grounds.
  • Out-of-town attendees, once onsite lodging is full.
  • DOES NOT include airport shuttle, but will include transportation to off-site dinners, and other locals for events.


  • Once you are notified of your acceptance to the workshop, 1/3 the cost of the event is due. ($600 with lodging, $500 local registration)
  • The second 1/3 payment ($600 with lodging, $500 local registration) is due on 6/1/2014.
  • The third 1/3 payment ($600 with lodging, $500 local registration) is due on 7/1/2014.
  • If there is a waiting list for this event, and you have to cancel, all but a $30 application fee will be returned to you if you cancel eight weeks before the event. If there is no waiting list, and the spot is unable to be filled, the 1/3 deposit is non-refundable.
  • Payments may be made via check or credit card. Credit card payments have an additional 3% service charge added.


  • If you care to extend your stay at The Writing Barn or Book House to retreat/write after the event, please inquire about discounted stays.
  • If you wish to have a Writer Massage in your room, during an evening, with one of Austin’s top massage therapists, the cost for an hour, full body massage is $100.
  • If you wish to schedule a headshot session with Author Headshot Photographer, Sam Bond of Sam Bond Photography on the arrival day, please contact her at shropshiresam007@gmail.com.

APPLICATIONS: To apply, fill out the application form here.


Those attending the Full Novel Revision Week: Mastering the Middle Grade need to be aware of the following dates:

  • July 10, 2014 – ALL Novel Manuscripts are due  to The Writing Barn via email.
  • Manuscripts must follow the following format:
    • Double-spaced Times New Roman 12pt
    • Name and page number in header of each page, i.e. Smith/Great Story/20
    • Use wide margins, at least 1 inch all around the text
    • Standard indentations
    • Must NOT be longer than 250 manuscript pages, unless cleared by The Writing Barn offices
  • August 5-6 2014 – Faculty Critiques will be emailed to participants
  • August 9, 2014 – Arrival at The Writing Barn
  • August 16, 2014 – Departure from The Writing Barn *unless you have pre-arranged to add more writing time on to your stay.